A Variety of the Same
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. – Romans 12:6-8
My wife and I decided to arrange some plantings to cover up the old retaining wall at our home because it was ugly. We
chose to use a shrub called rosemary, which is covered with blue flowers and would droop over the edge of the walls. We began with two plants, but
that was not enough, so we went to various sources to get more. We ordered from a catalog and went to some local nurseries, thinking that all Rosmarinus Officinalis would be the same, but not so.
Looking online, I discovered there are 13,150 varieties within the species, such as Lockwood de Forest, Collingwood Ingram, and Gorizia.
There is now a hedge of Rosmarinus Officinalis covering the top of our retaining wall, all the same “species,” but several different “varieties.”
They all look a little different, and we later learned that they serve many purposes. Rosemary is a kind of mint, and the leaves can be used for seasoning
lamb, chicken, or stew; the oil is used in tonics, liniments, and toiletry products. When dried, the leaves are used in sachets, as a moth repellent,
and it also may be brewed as tea for stomachaches and headaches.
I see an interesting parallel between our rosemary hedge and the family of God. Born-again Christians are all of the same “species,” but there is a huge
variety of personality descriptions among us. Paul just began to list some of those distinctions in today’s focus verses. We all do things a little
bit differently, yet our purpose is the same—we are making up the hedge for God. We are filling all of the jobs the Lord has for us to do, and
no single one of us could do it on our own. It takes the contribution of each of our unique talents and characteristics to meet the many needs of the
We may not do everything alike in our church family, but we are of the same species, and together we can fill the gap in the hedge!